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UK Books Received- 08/2009  Next Month / Last Month
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Angry Robot

Moxyland by Lauren Beukes (Angry Robot 01 July 2009 / £7.99) - I'm delighted to be able to list the first two titles to be released by the newest genre imprint on the block, Angry Robot. There's been a delicious buzz in publishing circles about approach of the Robot. The imprint (a division of Harpercollins) is vibrant and exciting and full of energy and ambition - that in itself is impressive in these grey, recession hit times. Angry Robot's mission (see their official statement here) goes further though and they look set to deliver to readers a huge range of talent that will, I am quite certain, serve to become a roll call of genre luminaries in years to come. I applaud the Robot's pioneering spirit and look forward to bringing news of their releases in the coming months and years.

So, without further ado... first up is Moxyland, a first novel from South African author Lauren Beukes. The tag line from the AR site not only sums up the novel, but also the attitude ... "Moxyland takes its cues from Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross... and kicks their ass." I LOVE IT!!!

Moxyland is a trade paperback released in the UK and ANZ and will be available in the US from October. An eBook version is also available.

"Moxyland is an ultra-smart thriller about technological progress, and the freedoms it removes. In the near future, four hip young things live in a world where your online identity is at least as important as your physical one. Getting disconnected is a punishment worse than imprisonment, but someone’s got to stand up to government inc., whatever the cost."

Slights by Kaaron Warren (Angry Robot 01 July 2009 / £7.99) - The second lead title from Angry Robot is Australian writer Kaaron Warren's debut novel Slights a dark and disturbing horror novel which serves to illustrate this new publisher's uncompromising agenda for bringing forth exciting new work by a new generation of writers.

"Stephanie is a killer. After an accident in which her mother dies, she has a near-death experience, and finds herself in a room full of people – everyone she’s ever pissed off. They clutch at her, scratch and tear at her. But she finds herself drawn back to this place, again and again, determined to unlock its secrets. Which means she has to die, again and again. And she starts to wonder whether other people see the same room… when they die.

Slights is a deeply intense, disturbing read. Death is not the end, but this is not comforting, heartwarming or safe. The misery memoir craze of the last few years has overshadowed horror fiction’s impact with (allegedly) real-life experiences. Now it’s time for horror and fantasy fiction to fight back."

Slights is a paperback original released now in the UK and ANZ. It will be available in the US from October. An eBook version is also available.

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

The Magykal Papers (Septimus Heap) by Angie Sage (Bloomsbury Publishing PLC 06 July 2009 / £12.99) - Angie Sage's Septimus Heap novels have sold over a million copies worldwide, in twenty-eight languages! They are exactly the kind of books that ignite a love of reading in the young that stays with them forever. Now Bloomsbury (so good at publishing in this area) have produced a companion guide to Sage's novels, penned by the author and lavishly illustrated by Mark Zug. A gorgeous production.

"... a dazzling cornucopia of information on every aspect of Septimus's world and the creatures that inhabit it: from secret files, to journal excerpts, charm theory, the seven basic spells, dispatches from the Message Rat Office, history, maps and much more. The ultimate companion title for fans of Septimus Heap and an ideal gift for fans of magic, Wizardology and all things fantastical. Can be read cover to cover, perfect for dipping in and out of too. "

Gollancz

Avilion (Mythago Wood 2) by Robert Holdstock (Gollancz 16 July 2009 / £12.99) - It's a quarter of a century since Robert Holdstock published his cornerstone World Fantasy Award winning work Mythago Wood. That novel has been widely hailed as a landmark novel of the genre. Now Holdstock retunrs to the landscape of his most famous novel in this direct sequel entitled Avilion, published by Gollancz.

"At the heart of Ryhope Wood, Steven and the mythago Guiwenneth live in the ruins of a Roman villa close to a haunted fortress from the Iron Age, from which Guiwenneth's myth arose. She is comfortable here, almost tied to the place, and Steven has long since abandoned all thought of returning to his own world. They have animals, protection and crops. They also have two children, a combination of human and mythago. Jack is like his father, an active boy keen to know all about the outer world'; Yssobel takes after her mother, even to her long auburn hair. But this idyll cannot last. The hunters who protected Guiwenneth as a child have come to warn her she is in danger. Yssobel is dreaming increasingly of her Uncle Christian, Steven's brother, who disappeared into Lavondyss, and Jack wants to see 'the outer world' more than anything. Events are about to overtake them."

Destroyer of Worlds: Kingdom of the Serpent: Book 3: Destroyer of Worlds Bk. 3 (Gollancz) by Mark Chadbourn (Gollancz 16 July 2009 / £12.99) - The third novel in Mark Chadbourn's Kingdom of the Serpent sequence, the first book of which Jack of Ravens, I covered back in 2006. Gollancz now publish Destroyer of Worlds in trade paperback.

"It is the beginning of the end . . . The end of the axe-age, the sword-age, leading to the passing of gods and men from the universe. As all the ancient prophecies fall into place, the final battle rages, on Earth, across Faerie, and into the land of the dead. Jack Churchill, Champion of Existence, must lead the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons in a last, desperate assault on the Fortress of the Enemy, to confront the ultimate incarnation of destruction: the Burning Man. It is humanity's only chance to avert the coming extinction. At his back is an army of gods culled from the world's great mythologies - Greek, Norse, Chinese, Aztec, and more. But will even that be enough? Driven to the brink by betrayal, sacrifice and death, his allies fear Jack may instead bring about the very devastation he is trying to prevent . . . "

Oceanic by Greg Egan (Gollancz 16 July 2009 / £12.99) - Oceanic - a trade paperback published by Gollancz, collects twelve of Greg Egan's terrific SF tales into a single volume.

"In these dozen glimpses into the future Egan continues to explore the essence of what it is to be human, and the nature of what - and who - we are, in stories that range from parables of contemporary human conflict and ambition to far-future tales of our immortal descendants. Return to the universe of the meta-civilisation known as the Amalgam, which Egan explored in his critically acclaimed novel Incandescence: 'Riding the Crocodile', which recounts an epic endeavour a million years from now to bridge the divide between the Amalgam and the reclusive Aloof; 'Glory', set in the same future, in which two archaeologists strive to decipher the artefacts of an ancient civilisation, and 'Hot Rock', where an obscure, sunless world conceals mind-spinning technological marvels, bitter factional struggles, and a many-layered secret history. This superb collection also includes the title story, the Hugo Award-winning 'Oceanic': a boy is inducted into a religion that becomes the centre of his life, but as an adult he must face evidence that casts a new light on his faith."

The Cold Kiss of Death: Spellcrackers Book 2 by Suzanne McLeod (Gollancz 16 July 2009 / £18.99) - In a market dominated by American writers, Britain's Suzanne McLeod is comprehensively holding her own with her Spellcrackers.com series published by Gollancz. Her second novel The Cold Kiss of Death has just been published in trade paperback, and reviewed this month by Liz de Jager.

"All Genny wants is to live the quiet life and to do her job at Spellcrackers.com, but there's her tangled personal life to sort out first. She's being haunted by ghosts who want her help. Her witch neighbours want her evicted. Genny's sort-of-Ex - and now her new boss - can't decide whether he wants their relationship to be business or pleasure. And then there's the queue of vampires all wanting her to paint the town red - how long will it be before they stop taking no for an answer? But when one of her human friends is murdered by sidhe magic, Genny is determined to find the killer. She needs help to find the real murderer, and that means calling on some of the most capricious and seductive fae - but her search is hindered by the vampires, who have their own political agenda. All the evidence points to Genny - she's the only sidhe fae in London - and she's named the main suspect; it's not long before she's on the run, not just from the police, but from some of London's most powerful supernaturals." (see review)

Harper

Fragment by Warren Fahy (Harper 23 July 2009 / £6.99) - Published in the US in June, Warren Fahy's acclaimed début novel Fragment is now published in the UK by Harper as a paperback original.

"Fahy's imaginative début puts a fresh spin on the survival-of-prehistoric-beasts theme popularized by Jurassic Park. When members of the cable reality show SeaLife, aboard a ship in the South Pacific, respond to a distress beacon from Henders Island, several of the show's scientists wind up slaughtered by bizarre animals on the remote island. In response, the U.S. government blockades Henders Island to contain the serious biothreat its unique fauna could pose to humanity. The ship's botanist, Nell Duckworth, joins the investigative team, which quickly finds that arthropods on the island have evolved into sophisticated and ferocious life forms. Particularly memorable and frightening are the creatures Nell dubs spigers, which have eight legs and are twice the size of a Bengal tiger. Exciting debates on topics like the role of sexual reproduction in the development of life on Earth provide a sound scientific background." -- Publisher's Weekly

HarperCollins Publishers Ltd

Relentless by Dean Koontz (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd 25 June 2009 / £17.99) - The stunning new thriller from one of the world's bestselling authors. Hostile reviews may have hastened the deaths of some writers, but Cubby Greenwich is made of sterner stuff. At least this is what he tells himself, meanwhile obsessing about the scathing review of his latest bestseller by Shearman Waxx in a national newspaper. A feared and therefore revered critic, Waxx has an aura of mystery about him that has carried him far as an arbiter of taste, but the mystery itself is about to break cover. In an unexpected encounter with Waxx, Cubby says one innocent word, but it is the wrong word, and it seems to trigger an inhuman fury in the critic, who becomes bent on destroying Cubby and everything he loves. For it soon becomes apparent that Waxx is not merely a ferocious literary enemy, but a ruthless sociopath. When Cubby finally learns the truth, can he save himself and his family from the appalling danger they are in? The terror has only just begun!

HarperVoyager

Dragon Keeper (The Rain Wild Chronicles) by Robin Hobb (HarperVoyager 25 June 2009 / £20.00) - Robin Hobb takes readers back to the world of her Liveships Traders in this new stand alone novel, The Dragon Keeper, published in royal hardback by Harpercollins Voyager.

"Guided by the great blue dragon Tintaglia, they came from the sea: a Tangle of serpents fighting their way up the Rain Wilds River, the first to make the perilous journey to the cocooning grounds in generations. Many have died along the way. With its acid waters and impenetrable forest, it is a hard place for any to survive. People are changed by the Rain Wilds, subtly or otherwise. One such is Thymara. Born with black claws and other aberrations, she should have been exposed at birth. But her father saved her and her mother has never forgiven him. Like everyone else, Thymara is fascinated by the return of dragons: it is as if they symbolise the return of hope to their war-torn world. Leftrin, captain of the liveship Tarman, also has an interest in the hatching; as does Bingtown newlywed, Alise Finbok, who has made it her life's work to study all there is to know of dragons. But the creatures which emerge from the cocoons are a travesty of the powerful, shining dragons of old. Stunted and deformed, they cannot fly; some seem witless and bestial. Soon, they become a danger and a burden to the Rain Wilders: something must be done. The dragons claim an ancestral memory of a fabled Elderling city far upriver: perhaps there the dragons will find their true home. But Kelsingra appears on no maps and they cannot get there on their own: a band of dragon keepers, hunters and chroniclers must attend them. To be a dragon keeper is a dangerous job: their charges are vicious and unpredictable, and there are many unknown perils on the journey to a city which may not even exist..."

Galileo's Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson (HarperVoyager 06 August 2009 / £18.99) - Kim Stanley Robinson's fascinating new novel tells of "... the story of the incredible life - and death - of Galileo, the First Scientist."

Published in hardcover from Harper Voyager (thus predating the US release by some months), Galileo's Dream looks like a dead cert for those of us who, like me, loved Stephenson's Baroque Cycle. Robinson appears to be amongst that dwindling group of writers who for some reason still resist an official (or even unofficial in his case) internet presence - hopefully someone will put this right soon enough, but for now, here's a link to the Harpercollins page for this release.

Hodder & Stoughton

Under the Dome by Stephen King (Hodder & Stoughton 10 November 2009 / £19.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: A big release in every sense of the word. For a man who was supposed to have retired a year or two back, Stephen King remains as prolific as ever, with new material continuing to pour forth from his inexhaustible imagination.

In November his new novel Under The Dome will be published by Hodder & Stoughton - a tale that has taken the author two decades to perfect and, by all accounts, a book that will be well worth the wait.

"On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as 'the dome' comes down on it, people running errands in the neighbouring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. Dale Barbara, Iraq vet, teams up with a few intrepid citizens against the town's corrupt politician. But time, under the dome, is running out...."

Little, Brown

Transition by Iain Banks (Little, Brown 03 September 2009 / £18.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: The forthcoming Iain Banks novel (note the absence of the "M"), due from Little Brown in September. Word on the street is that this one is rather science fictional for a none "M" Banks book, and this is perhaps confirmed by the fact that it will be published in the US by Orbit but will appear here on the main Little, Brown list. The blurb below puts me in mind of The Bridge, which was very much an SF novel, although it was not published as such. Due from both imprints this coming September.

"A world that hangs suspended between triumph and catastrophe, between the dismantling of the Wall and the fall of the Twin Towers, frozen in the shadow of suicide terrorism and global financial collapse, such a world requires a firm hand and a guiding light. But does it need the Concern: an all-powerful organisation with a malevolent presiding genius, pervasive influence and numberless invisible operatives in possession of extraordinary powers? On the Concern's books are Temudjin Oh, an un-killable assassin who journeys between the peaks of Nepal, a version of Victorian London and the dark palaces of Venice; and a nameless, faceless torturer known only as the Philosopher. And then there's the renegade Mrs Mulverhill, who recruits rebels to her side; and Patient 8262, hiding out from a dirty past in a forgotten hospital ward. As these vivid, strange and sensuous worlds circle and collide, the implications of turning traitor to the Concern become horribly apparent, and an unstable universe is set on a dizzying course."

Orbit

Captain's Fury (Codex Alera) by Jim Butcher (Orbit 06 August 2009 / £7.99) - The fourth title in Jim Butcher's fantasy sequence collectively entitled The Codex Alera. Orbit are to be applauded for publishing this sequence fast as paperback originals, bringing the rest of the world in line with the US releases. Two further titles are due to follow.

"After two years of bitter conflict with the hordes of invading Canim, Tavi of Calderon, now Captain of the First Aleran Legion, realizes that a peril far greater than the Canim exists—the terrifying Vord, who drove the savage Canim from their homeland. Now, Tavi must find a way to overcome the centuries-old animosities between Aleran and Cane if an alliance is to be forged against their mutual enemy. And he must lead his legion in defiance of the law, against friend and foe—before the hammerstroke of the Vord descends on them all. "

Child of a Dead God by Barb Hendee (Orbit 06 August 2009 / £7.99) - The concluding volume of Barb & J.C Hendee's gripping Noble Dead sequence. Child of a Dead God is a mass market paperback edition published by Orbit.

"For years, Magiere and Leesil have sought a long-forgotten artefact, even though its purpose has been shrouded in mystery. All Magiere knows is that she must keep the orb from her murderous half-brother Welstiel, one of the deadly so-called Noble Dead. And now, dreams of a castle locked in ice lead her south - on a journey that has become nothing less than an obsession. Among Magiere's protectors are two elven assassins-turned-guardians who must fight their distrust of this sister of the dead. Forces more powerful than they are also rallying around Magiere, arming her for conflict. But finding the orb may be just the start of the dangers that await."

Gears of War: Jacinto's Remnant Bk. 2 by Karen Traviss (Orbit 06 August 2009 / £7.99) - Karen Traviss, as well as writing her own excellent material, has made a hugely successful career writing franchise tie-in novels - a career choice that has made her a #1 New York Times best selling author and one of the best around when it comes to this kind of thing.

This latest is a tie into the Gears of War computer game - Jacinto's Remnant is Traviss's second GOW title and is a paperback original from Orbit.

Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong (Orbit 25 August 2009 / £7.99) - A latest novel from Canadian superstar Kelly Armstrong, to be released as an Orbit mass market paperback. Armstrong has built up a huge fan base with her consistently excellent brand of supernatural thriller.

"Robyn Peltier has always lived a normal life. So when her boss is murdered and she is named prime suspect, she is way out of her depth. As the bodies pile up only her friend Hope, and Hope's somewhat spooky boyfriend Karl, are on her side. Hope, meanwhile, has a few secrets of her own. Namely that she is half-demon, and her 'spooky' boyfriend is actually a werewolf. Hope also knows that Robyn has accidentally stumbled into a bloody supernatural turf war. And the only way she can keep her friend alive is by letting her enter a world she's safer knowing nothing about ..."

Saturn's Children by Charles Stross (Orbit 02 July 2009 / £7.99) - British author Charles Stross keeps up both his prolific output and his position as flavour-of-the-month (now well into its third or fourth year!) with this mass market release of his erotically charged space opera Saturn's Children - the first of Stross titles released this month by Orbit.

"Freya Nakamachi-47 has some major existential issues. She's the perfect concubine, designed to please her human masters ? hardwired to become aroused at the sight mere of a human male. There's just one problem: she came off the production line a year after the human species went extinct. Whatever else she may be, Freya Nakamachi-47 is gloriously obsolete. But the rigid social hierarchy that has risen in the 200 years since the last human died, places beings such as Freya very near the bottom. So when she has a run-in on Venus with a murderous aristocrat, she needs passage off-world in a hurry ? and can't be too fussy about how she pays her way. If Venus was a frying pan, Mercury is the fire - and soon she's going to be running for her life. Because the job she's taken as a courier has drawn her to the attention of powerful and dangerous people, and they don't just want the package she's carrying. They want her soul ..."

The Dwarves: Book 1 by Markus Heitz (Orbit 06 August 2009 / £7.99) - When last month's Gemmell Award was won by Polish author Andrej Sapkowski (whose work I have covered here on Sfrevu) for his novel Blood of Elves, it woke a lot of folks up to the fact that fantasy is not just the province of writers working in English.

I'll be very surprised if we don't see Markus Heitz's German bestseller The Dwarves at least on next year's Gemmell longlist. Published by Orbit in smart B format, this is the kind of solid fantasy that the market thrives upon - great storytelling set against a solid genre background. Sometimes we don't want the wheel reinvented!

"For countless millennia, no man or beast has ever succeeded in breaching the stone gateway into Girdlegard. Until now ...Abandoned as a child, Tungdil the blacksmith is the only dwarf in a kingdom of men. But when he is sent out into the world to deliver a message and reacquaint himself with his people, the young foundling finds himself thrust into a battle for which he has not been trained. Not only his own safety, but the life of every man, woman and child in Girdlegard depends upon his ability to embrace his heritage. Although he has many unanswered questions, Tungdil is certain of one thing: no matter where he was raised, he is a true dwarf. And no one has ever questioned the courage of the Dwarves."

The Gypsy Morph (Genesis of Shannara) by Terry Brooks (Orbit 02 July 2009 / £7.99) - The evergreen Terry Brooks offers up this third novel in his series linking the worlds of Shannara and The Word and The Void. The Gypsy Morph is an Orbit mass market paperback edition.

"The last cities have fallen. Demons and once-men swarm the ravaged landscape of the former United States. A small band of survivors - the elves of Cintra and a ragtag group of human children and their protectors - flees northward toward a safe haven promised by the mystical King of the Silver River. To reach it, they must follow the boy named Hawk - now revealed as the legendary gypsy morph. With two Knights of the Word as their only protection, the brave remnant faces attacks on all sides. At stake are the survival of races human and elf - and the beginning of a new world for both."

The Summoning (Darkest Powers) by Kelley Armstrong (Orbit 03 July 2008 / £7.99) - Orbit resissue the Darkest Powers trilogy by one of the leading writers of urban fantasy, Kelly Armstrong. This edition of The Summoning is a mass market paperback featuring a brand new cover look.

"Chloe Saunders sees dead people. Yes, like in the films. The problem is, in real life saying you see ghosts gets you a one-way ticket to the psych ward. And at 15, all Chloe wants to do is fit in at school and maybe get a boy to notice her. But when a particularly violent ghost haunts her, she gets noticed for all the wrong reasons. Her seemingly crazed behaviour earns her a trip to Lyle House, a centre for 'disturbed teens'. At first Chloe is determined to keep her head down. But then her room mate disappears after confessing she has a poltergeist, and some of the other patients also seem to be manifesting paranormal behaviour. Could that be a coincidence? Or is Lyle House not quite what it seems...? Chloe realises that if she doesn't uncover the truth, she could be destined for a lifetime in a psychiatric hospital. Or could her fate be even worse...? Can she trust her fellow students, and does she dare reveal her dark secret?"

Wireless by Charles Stross (Orbit 02 July 2009 / £14.99) - This second Stross release of the month gives some indication of his growing importance and stature, for not many authors are have a short fiction collection issued in hardcover by a major genre publisher! When seen in context of the recent announcement regarding Alastair Reynolds's new book deal with Gollancz, the argument that Science Fiction 'doesn't sell' which I tend to hear a lot would seem weakened somewhat?

"It has been said that the natural state of science fiction is the short story. If that is so, you won't find a better exploration of that state than Charles Stross's new collection. Centred around an original and previously unpublished novella, 'Palimpsest', WIRELESS is a showcase of some of the best short SF of the 21st century. With an introduction from the author and containing hitherto uncollected works such as 'Missile Gap', 'Trunk and Disorderly' and 'Rogue Farm', and some gems previously available only in small press publications, such as 'A Colder War' and 'Antibodies', WIRELESS will illustrate perfectly why award-winning editor and anthologist, Gardner Dozois, once declared: 'Where Charles Stross goes today, the rest of science fiction will follow tomorrow.'"

Witches Incorporated (Rogue Agent) by K.E. Mills (Orbit 02 July 2009 / £6.99) - The second book in K.E. Mills's (aka Karen Miller) Rogue Agent comic fantasy sequence. The first book, The Accidental Sorcerer was very warmly received and this follow up, Witches Incorporated looks set to be just as much fun! An orbit paperback original.

"It's a case of espionage, skullduggery and serious unpleasantness. And it's also Gerald's first official government assignment. He's hunting down a deadly saboteur, and time is quickly running out. Old enemies and new combine forces to thwart him. Once again, innocent lives are on the line. He needs his friends. He can't do this alone. But Princess Melissande and Reg have troubles of their own. With the help of Monk Markham's brilliant, beautiful sister, they've opened a one-stop-shop witching locum agency, where magical problems are solved for a price. Problem is, the girls are struggling to keep the business afloat. Things are looking grim for Witches Incorporated - and that's before they accidentally cross paths with Gerald's saboteur. Suddenly everybody's lives are on the line and Gerald realises, too late, that there's a reason government agents aren't supposed to have friends ..."

You Suck by Christopher Moore (Orbit 27 August 2009 / £7.99) - Orbit publish this trade paperback edition of You Suck, the latest offering from fantasy humorist Christopher Moore

"Being undead sucks. Literally. Just ask C. Thomas Flood. Waking up after a fantastic night unlike anything he's ever experienced, he discovers that his girlfriend, Jody, is a vampire. And surprise! Now he's one, too. For some couples, the whole biting-and-blood thing would have been a deal breaker. But Tommy and Jody are in love, and they vow to work through their issues. But word has it that the vampire who initially nibbled on Jody wasn't supposed to be recruiting. Even worse, Tommy's erstwhile turkey-bowling pals are out to get him, at the urging of a blue-dyed Las Vegas call girl named (duh) Blue. And that really sucks."

Sceptre

Sunnyside by Glen David Gold (Sceptre 25 June 2009 / £17.99) - Carter Beats the Devil remains one of my favourite books of the last decade and it's hard to believe that it has taken author Glen David Gold seven years to offer up a second novel. That said, novel writing isn't an exact science, nor are authors machines. GDC has big ideas that take some serious artistry and execution and his perfectionist streak is something that I admire hugely.

Sunnyside, now published by Sceptre in hardcover and already into its first reprint, is a complex and accomplished work, and a novel - like its predecessor - to be savoured and enjoyed over time.

"...a grand entertainment with the brilliantly realized figure of Charlie Chaplin at its centre: a novel at once cinematic and intimate, thrilling and darkly comic, which dramatizes the moment when American capitalism, a world at war, and the emerging mecca of Hollywood intersect to spawn an enduring culture of celebrity.

SUNNYSIDE follows three overlapping fortunes: Leland Wheeler, son of the last (and worst) Wild West star, as he heads to the battlefields of France; snobbish Hugo Black, drafted to fight in Russia under the British general, Edmund Ironside; and Chaplin himself, contending with studio moguls, accusations of cowardice, his unchecked heart and, most menacing of all, his mother, as he pursues the goal of making a movie 'as good as he was'.

With a cast of enthralling characters both historical and fictional, SUNNYSIDE is a heart-rending, spellbinding novel about dreams, ambition and the dawn of the modern age."

Solaris

Age of Ra by James Lovegrove (Solaris 03 August 2009 / £7.99) - James Lovegrove is a long time fave writer of mine, the kind of author who is so choc-full of ideas that he's perhaps hard for publishers to profile. Each of his books offers up a different kind of delight - see these links for my reviews of Untied Kingdom, Provender Gleed and The Fledging Of Az Gabrielson) Lovegrove is a truly protean writer and in his latest offering he shows off his talents most fulsomely. The Age of Ra is published by Solaris as a trade paperback original and is reviewed in this issue by Liz de Jager.

"An alternate history of the world where the Egyptian gods have defeated all others and have carved up the planet between themselves. Only a band of Freedom Fighters and their enigmatic leader can free the Earth from their divine tyranny." (see review)

Lord of Silence by Mark Chadbourn (Solaris 06 July 2009 / £7.99) - The second Mark Chadbourn novel we're listing this month - Lord of Silence is apparently something of a departure for the author. He describes it thus "...a completely new world, new characters, a twisted take on magic, and a mystery that spans several thousand years. It's a sword and sorcery, noir, puzzle-cracking, romance, serial killer, adventure-mystery. With mad, dancing magicians." And if that doesn't sell it to you, nothing will!

Lord of Silence is a trade paperback published by Solaris.

Tor

Blood of the Mantis: Shadows of the Apt (Shadows of the Apt 3) by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tor 07 August 2009 / £7.99) - The third title in Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt fantasy series. Blood of the Mantis is published in paperback original by Tor UK.

"Driven by the ghosts of the Darakyon, Achaeos has tracked the stolen Shadow Box to the marsh-town of Jerez, but he has only days before the magical box is lost to him forever. Meanwhile, the forces of the Empire are mustering over winter for their great offensive, gathering their soldiers and perfecting their new weapons. Stenwold and his followers have only a short time to gather what allies they can before the Wasp armies march again, conquering everything in their path. If they cannot throw back the Wasps this spring then the imperial black-and-gold flag will fly over every city in the Lowlands before the year's end. In Jerez begins a fierce struggle over the Shadow Box, as lake creatures, secret police and renegade magicians compete to take possession. If it falls into the hands of the Wasp Emperor, however, then no amount of fighting will suffice to save the world from his relentless ambition. "

Viz Media, Subs. of Shogakukan Inc

All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka (Viz Media, Subs. of Shogakukan Inc 21 July 2009 / £8.99) - Manga media publisher giant Viz Media has launched a new imprint called Haikasoru, dedicated to publishing the very best in Japanese SF novels in translation. I'm surprised that this is only happening now, given the influence that Japanese genre culture (mainly via Manga) has had on the west, not least in the gaming industry. British and American SF has been published in Japan for many years and so it's right and fitting that there should be this reciprocity - let's just hope it makes commercial sense too!

The first title to be issued is 's All You Need is Kill - described by John Scalzi as "Science Fiction for the adrenaline junkie. Reads fast, kicks ass, and keeps on coming. Buckle up and enjoy."

""There's one thing worse than dying. It's coming back to do it again and again…When the alien Gitai invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many raw recruits shoved into a suit of battle armor and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to find himself reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On the 158th iteration though, he sees something different, something out of place: the female soldier known as the Bitch of War. Is the Bitch the key to Keiji's escape, or to his final death?"

The Lord of the Sands of Time by Issui Ogawa (Viz Media, Subs. of Shogakukan Inc 21 July 2009 / £8.99) - Haikasoru's second launch title is The Lord of the Sands of Time by Issui Ogawa - a trade paperback release.

"Sixty-two years after human life on Earth was annihilated by rampaging alien invaders, the enigmatic Messenger O is sent back in time with a mission to unite humanity of past eras—during the Second World War and ancient Japan, and even back to the dawn of the species itself—to defeat the invasion before it begins. However, in a future shredded by war and genocide, love waits for O. Will O save humanity only to doom himself?"

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